William Henry Hechler: Friend of Zion

Rev. William Henry Hechler - Mike Evans MuseumRev. William Henry Hechler died on January 30, 1931. On February 2, 2011, eighty years and three days following his demise, a tombstone was dedicated and placed at his grave, which had previously been unmarked. The inscription below his name reads:

A Lover of God, His Word
And His Ancient People.
Tireless Adversary of Anti-Semitism
Friend and Counsellor of Theodore Herzl

Theodore Herzl could not have imagined that, within weeks of publishing his ground-breaking pamphlet, The Jewish State, his work would find an enthusiastic supporter from a Christian chaplain. In 1896, long before the internet afford the luxury of putting anyone’s work before the public eye, were it not divinely ordained, it is difficult to imagine that a singular man, a Gentile, who himself had published The Restoration of the Jews to Palestine according to the Prophecy, would be rummaging through book stalls in Vienna and end up with Herzl’s pamphlet in his hands.

Even if it does not seem to be a miracle to us, it did to William Henry Hechler. In his own work, published just a couple of years earlier, Hechler wrote that the days of Jewish salvation would begin around 1897 and that, “It is the duty of every Christian to love the Jews.” Herzl’s publication was unpopular with many Jews for political reasons. Hechler’s work was rejected by Christians who had never seriously studied the Prophets.

Individually, it is likely that their singular works might have drifted into oblivion. Both men had passion and wisdom. Herzl had a vision. William Henry Hechler had something else. He had connections.

Hechler was determined to share what he had deduced from reading Biblical prophecy, he also saw Herzl’s The Jewish State as affirmation of his reasoning. He reached out to Herzl and, ultimately, did what he could to engage his contacts in the Germany hierarchy to support Herzl’s Zionist proposition. It would be a mistake to say that their combined efforts opened the door to the establishment of the Jewish State, but it might be accurate to say that it would not have happened without them. There was widespread resistance to both their vision and their efforts, but they laid a foundation upon which others would build.

At the dedication of the headstone, Jerry Klinger, the president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, said, “It has long been recognized that, without Hechler’s intercession and support, Herzl may have simply remained an obscure, eccentric Viennese journalism. The course of Zionism, and possibly the very founding of the modern State of Israel, may not have been successful.”

Israeli Ambassador, Ron Prosor, also remarked, “The support he gave to Theodor Herzl is symbolic of the understanding that is found today among our Christian friends, of the eternal connections that exists between the Jewish People and Eretz Yisrael.”

In the annals of history, it may be fitting to say that William Henry Hechler was the very first Friend of Zion.

Why is the Mike Evans Israel Museum in Jerusalem?

Why Does Mike Evans Have a Museum in Jerusalem - Facet 2 - Mike Evans MuseumAnswer Facet No. 2

That’s a good question. It’s not only a good question, it is a question that deserves an answer. Because the question is so important, it follows that the answer must be also. But, if the question is simple, the answer is not. Rather, it is multifaceted. There is no single answer. But, when all of the facets that comprise the answer are presented, there is no longer a need for the question to be asked.

This, then, is the second facet of the answer. Please continue to follow this series of articles from beginning to end. Somewhere along the journey you may find the answer for yourself, even before we finish.

Facet #2 – We Believe That God Will Bless Those Who Bless Israel

When the LORD God, Yahweh, told Abraham that, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee,” He did not place any restrictions on whom He would bless – or on whom He would curse. He did not limit His blessing to any nation or tribe or even any family or individual. Nor did He exclude anyone from either being blessed or being accursed.

Solomon said that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, but that fools despise wisdom and instruction. Here, as throughout the entirety of Scripture, the LORD maintains a clear distinction between foolishness and wisdom. If we truly believe, as we explained in the first facet of our answer to “Why does Mike Evans have a museum in Jerusalem?” that God is who He says He is, then we must believe that what He says, indeed, that everything He says, is true.

Therefore, we are compelled to believe that His promise to Abraham must be true. Our response to His truth is always what separates the wise from the foolish. We affirm here, and by the establishing of the Mike Evans Israel Museum in Jerusalem, officially known as the Friends of Zion Heritage Center, that it is our desire to bless the Jewish people and to promote a love for them among the nations.

One of our hopes, although not a stated objective as such, is also that the Jewish people will more fully see how the LORD divides between those who bless and those who curse Israel. The work of Yad Vashem has done much to recognize the Righteous among the Nations. We see this as one of the many ways that Yahweh has used to bless those who have blessed His people.

Our goal is simple. The museum is not for gain or reward. The museum is here to bless the children of Abraham. Perhaps, in doing so, all who visit will see evidence of how God has blessed those who have blessed Israel throughout modern history. To do that, we have many obstacles to overcome, not the least of which is all of the crimes that have been done to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora in the name of Christianity. Whether those crimes were perpetrated in the name of a nation, in the name of a church, in the name of an organization or by individuals, they could never have been done by anyone who has read and believed what God has written.

This is also why the Friends of Zion Heritage Center (Mike Evans Israel Museum) exists. The lives and deeds of persons recognized in the Center are further evidence that, regardless of the headlines of the past or those of today, there are true Christian men and women who, as an inseparable part of their faith, wish to bless Israel. Our hearts are grieved that, even today, there are so-called Christian churches and denominations who oppose Israel.

So we are here to remind you that the dividing line that God has established is clear and simple. It is not about nations, ethnicity, politics, or religions. It is about who blesses Israel and who curses her. We choose to follow God and His wisdom and to bless the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. Anyone who would choose to curse Israel and the Jewish people is, by God’s standard, a fool.

That is the second facet of the answer to the question. It should be perfectly clear. We believe that God will bless those who bless Israel.

Why Does Mike D Evans Have a Museum in Jerusalem?

Why Does Mike Evans Have a Museum in Jerusalem?Answer Facet No. 1

That’s a good question. It’s not only a good question, it is a question that deserves an answer. Because the question is so important, it follows that the answer must be also. But, if the question is simple, the answer is not. Rather, it is multifaceted. There is no single answer. But, when all of the facets that comprise the answer are presented, there is no longer a need for the question to be asked.

This, then, is the first facet of the answer. Please continue to follow this series of articles from beginning to end. Somewhere along the journey you may find the answer for yourself, even before we finish.

 Facet #1 – We All Believe That God Is Who He Says He Is

Moses asked the name of the one speaking to him from the bush that burned but was not consumed. The answer was “I AM that I AM” (in the Hebrew, הָיָה, or hä·yä). He is the same I AM who spoke to Isaiah and told him that “I AM God, and there is none else; I AM God and there is none like me.” He is the one who told Abraham, “I AM the Almighty God. Walk before me, and be thou perfect.” He is the one who is the Lord God of Israel. He is the one whom Elijah called the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.

He alone is God. There is no other, and there is no other like unto Him. He is the God who created the heavens and the earth. He is the God who called Israel out of bondage and into the land promised to Abraham, to make it their home. It is the land in which the nation of Israel exists today.

That is the truth. If anyone believes otherwise, he believes a lie, because there is only one truth. All truth comes from God. Apart from Him, there is no truth, no matter what men may say. “He is the Rock. His work is perfect, for all His ways are judgment; a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.” He is the only wise God from whom all wisdom emanates. To recognize who He is and to follow Him is to have good understanding. Only the fool says that there is no God or that there is any other.

We all, including Mike D Evans, believe that God is who He says He is. We believe in the only God, Jehovah – the one who is the God of Israel.

Our museum is here in Jerusalem, Israel because we believe God and we believe that every word that proceeds out of His mouth is true. We believe, therefore, that the Promised Land of the Bible belongs to the Lord and that He has given it to Israel. We believe that prophecy is being fulfilled in Israel every day as more and more Jews make their Aliyah. We believe that Jerusalem is the God-appointed capital of Israel and that it, therefore, belongs uniquely to the Jews and those who believe that Jehovah is God.

We believe that Jerusalem is a special place with a special purpose for true Christians and Jews. We believe that anyone who loves Jehovah God with all their heart and soul and strength will love what He loves. He loves the Jewish people and Israel. Therefore, because He is who He says He is, we love the Jewish people and Israel as well.

That is the first facet of the answer to the question. It should be perfectly clear. We believe that God is who He says He is.

Not Just Another Museum

Not Your Typical Place - Mike Evans MuseumThere are already thirty-two museums in Jerusalem. Isn’t that enough already? How can another one add anything to what is already here?

The answer to that question may not come from where most people expect. While most museums are built to preserve antiquities of some form of art, culture or history, the raison d’être for the Mike Evans Museum, officially named the Friends of Zion Heritage Center, and not just another museum, is to tell a love story that has been misunderstood, and even missed entirely, by the tellers of history. It is the story of the enduring love and compassion that true Christians have, and have had, for the Jewish people and now for the nation of Israel.

Dr. Mike Evans has dedicated his entire life to telling the story of Zionism and to encouraging the people of Israel. To this day, he advises Israeli leaders and assists survivors of the Nazi death camps. He has lobbied in the halls of the UN on behalf of Israel, written numerous books in support of Zionism, and boldly stood up and confronted enemies of the Jewish state face-to-face. If love is demonstrated by actions, there can be no doubt that Dr. Evans loves Israel.

This museum is the capstone on a legacy of love for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. It is yet another way of communicating the beautiful story of the love that true Christians have for the Jews.

We cannot undo the despicable acts perpetrated upon the Jews over the centuries in the name of “the church.” But we can, through this museum, illustrate that the political position of the traditional, mainstream church does not represent the true position of countless Christians all over the world who love the Jews and who pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

As Philip invited Nathanael, so we invite you to “Come and see.” Here you will learn the stories of many goyim whom God has used to prove that, when “the righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, [He] delivereth them out of all their troubles.”

Our expectation is that, within these walls every visitor will become acquainted with the stories of men and women who have gone to great lengths to aid and protect the Jews, promote the cause of Zionism and preserve the nation of Israel. But, more than the education, our hope is that each person will sense the love of our staff and realize that it represents the love of multitudes among the nations who also love them.

Politicians and men of high position throughout the ages have misappropriated the Christian label without understanding its true meaning and have often used that label to promote their personal agendas to persecute the Jewish people. Much to our mutual misfortune, this has led to misconceptions that Christians hate the Jews and cannot be trusted. The Mike Evans Museum exists as a beacon of assurance that those misconceptions are false.

We love you, Israel. We pray for your peace, Jerusalem. We bless you, children of Abraham. We know the plans that YHWH has for you, plans for you to prosper. We are here to demonstrate and teach you how much we care, and to share with you the stories of others who have gone before who have done the same. Shalom.

Colonel John H. Patterson: Righteous Among the Nations

Colonel John H. Patterson: Righteous Among the NationsOne of the reasons that the museum features the story of Colonel John H. Patterson is that most people have never heard of him. That is unfortunate.

Another reason is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother, Yoni, was named after him. That is special.

The final reason is because we believe that his story should never be forgotten. That would be reprehensible.

Patterson was a staunch advocate of Zionism in a storied military career that included commanding the Zion Mule Corps, a contingent of 750 Jewish soldiers recruited from the Diaspora to fight in the Boer War and in World War I.

Two years after it was formed in 1915, the Mule Corps was expanded and, thereafter, was known as the Jewish Legion. Its five battalions consisted entirely of Jewish volunteers. The 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers was comprised of Jews living in Great Britain and a number of Russian Jews who joined forces with the former Mule Corps members. The 39th Battalion was made up of Jewish men from the U.S. and Canada. Palestinian Jews and former Jewish POWs held captive by the Ottomans became the 40th Battalion. The 41st and 42nd Battalions completed the Legion, but were posted in England without seeing action.

The Jewish Legion fought in the Battle of Jerusalem in 1917 and the Battle of Megiddo in 1918. The Battle of Megiddo was the last, and decisive, Allied offensive thrust in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign under General Allenby. Patterson served as commander of the 38th Battalion until his retirement in 1920. Perhaps his passion and vision for Zionism are best exemplified, not by what he said at the end of his career, but by what he said to his men on March 31, 1915 upon the formation of the Zion Mule Corps.

“‘Pray with me that I should not only, as Moses, behold Canaan from afar, but be divinely permitted to lead you into the Promised Land.”

His prayers were answered as he led his men in recapturing the Promised Land in a battle that was among those with the fewest Allied casualties in all of World War I.

Patterson served in the British military for 35 years until his retirement. There is no doubt that leading the Jewish Legion, the forerunner of the Israeli Defense Forces, was his greatest honor.

Following WWI, Patterson authored The Story of the Jewish Legion, somewhat of a companion piece for his previous books, With the Zionists at Gallipoli and With the Judeans in Palestine. Patterson successfully lobbied to raise funding for Zionist efforts after retiring to California.

He died in La Jolla on June 18, 1947, less than a year prior to the establishment of the nation of Israel, a day for which he had worked and prayed for an entire lifetime. According to his last wishes, Patterson’s ashes were brought to his beloved Zion and buried in an undisclosed location. This Museum is planted here for the very same reason that his ashes are. Because we love Israel.

In 2004, Patrick Streeter published Mad for Zion, A Biography of Colonel J.H. Patterson. His inspiring story is available at Amazon.com.